The Executive Secretary of the UNECE, Ms. Olga Algayerova and the Secretary General of the Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER), Ms. Kari Aina Eik, signed today a Memorandum of Understating (MoU) to establish a Geneva UN Charter Centre of Excellence on Smart Sustainable Cities at the OiER.
Due to their long-standing partnership, which started with the launch, in 2014, of the programme “United Smart Cities” (USC), UNECE and OiER have decided to strengthen their collaboration on the topic of smart sustainable cities and establish the related Geneva UN Charter Center of Excellence in Vienna.
The Centres of Excellence are being created to implement the Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing, a non-legally binding document that is seeking to help national and local governments to ensure access to decent, adequate, affordable and healthy housing for all. The UNECE endorsed the Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing in 2015.
The first three Charter Centres were established in Tirana, Albania; Tallinn, Estonia; and Glasgow, UK. These Centres play a crucial role in promoting all four principles of the Charter: environmental protection, economic effectiveness, social inclusion and participation, and cultural adequacy. The Centres, depending on their specialization and available expertise at host institutions, work at national and/or international level and on topics covered by the Charter. Established as a network under the coordination of the UNECE Committee on Housing and Land Management, the Centers support the implementation of the Charter through the exchange of experiences, knowledge sharing, training and research, advisory services, cooperation and dissemination of its principles among the UNECE member States and beyond.
The Glasgow Centre (United Kingdom) hosts the Geneva UN Charter Center with the special focus on integrated urban planning and design while Tallinn (Estonia) hosts the Geneva UN Charter Center which is specialized in training programs on housing management. Another Centre is being established in Tirana and will focus on housing policies.
The Geneva UN Charter Centre of Excellence on Smart and Sustainable Cities in Vienna will support UNECE to implement activities related to capacity building and cooperation, especially in the context of the United Smart Cities (USC) and the recently-established SDG Cities Leadership Platform.
In particular, the Centre will:
- support cities to assess their economic, environmental and socio-cultural performances and set priorities for action;
- promote the exchange of best practices among countries and cities engaged in the implementation of smart sustainable city activities;
- encourage cooperation among international, national and local stakeholders;
- ensure knowledge transfer and strengthen the capacity of national and local authorities to develop and implement policies and actions to improve the quality of life of people and the efficiency of urban operations;
- identify financing tools and mechanisms to accelerate the progress of smart city projects;
- support the achievement of the SDGs at the city level.
About UNECE Housing and Land Management Unit
UNECE is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations. Its principal aim is to promote pan-European economic integration and sustainable development. To do so, it brings together 56 countries located in Europe, Central Asia, Caucasus and North America. In particular, the Housing and Land Management Unit serves the UNECE Committee on Housing and Land Management which works to promote: energy-efficient and adequate housing, including for those with special needs and vulnerable population groups; compact, inclusive, resilient, smart and sustainable cities; and transparent and efficient land use, and property registration. More information is available at http://www.unece.org/housing.html